The seven leaders of the most powerful nations have gathered at the G7 Summit of economic powers, which started today at a luxury hotel in the small town of Kruen in Bavaria, Germany. On the agenda are the fighting in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, the Greek bailout package and combating climate change, among other issues.
Barack Obama and host Angela Merkel immediately agreed on a firm commitment to the independence of Ukraine. The leaders stressed the importance of upholding sanctions against Russian individuals, a particular concern for UK Prime Minister David Cameron who said he hoped for “a united front against Russian-backed aggression”.
Cameron also announced that the UK would be sending an additional 125 military trainers to Iraq, to help in the fight against the group known as the Islamic State or ISIS. He said he was acting upon the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The leaders will also address the Greek debt crisis and responses to health and climate issues, especially to continue the effort to contain the Ebola virus, as well as trade and corruption related issues.
The G7 was formally known as the G8, but Russia was excluded from the meetings in 2014 over its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. “…Our group is not only a group [that shares] political or economic interests, but first of all this is a community of values. And that is why Russia is not among us here today”, said European Council President Donald Tusk.
Ahead of the summit, several thousand protesters had gathered to demonstrate against a variety of issues, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between Europe and the US, and foreign policy decisions. The German government has deployed at least 20,000 police officers to the small town in order to contain protesters.
Apart from occasional scuffles resulting in a few minor injuries, the by-far outnumbered protesters remained peaceful.
The G8 and G20 summits have been commonly met with a large number of protesters, including high numbers of injuries and arrests.